I wish we had to do vocab lessons before leveling up

I’ve realized I always hit a slump when I level up because of the sudden influx of vocabulary lessons for the level I just passed. In the part of my brain that is fixated on beating the “game” that is wanikani, these lessons are a pointless obstacle blocking me from working on the radicals and kanji of the new level I am now trying to pass. While on an intellectual level I (for the most part) appreciate the role of vocab words in what WK is trying to teach, the fact that they don’t contribute anything to leveling up makes it harder for the game-focused part of my brain to be engaged with them. I wish you didn’t level up until you’ve got something like 95% of the vocab at apprentice 1. Maybe I’d still get stuck on them, but it feels like with that as a motivator, I would be more likely to get through them, instead of what happens now, which is that, despite promising myself otherwise, I inevitably spend a week putting them off.

I guess I don’t actually expect them to change the app, I’m just venting. I’m sure there are people who wouldn’t like this idea? Maybe it could just be an option you could enable?


This is one of the reasons I actually like getting stuck by 1-2 kanji at the very end of a level (ex 39/40 needed to level up, sad_waiting_drug_dealer_meme.jpg).

That way, the leftovers I get from the previous level are a minor annoyance and not an absolute avalanche of stuff that doesn’t help me in my new level.


You can still beat the game if you just do the lessons as they come.

They won’t affect you as much as you think if you’re already doing everything you should be doing, which I imagine you are if you say you want to beat it as soon as possible.


I used to treat Wanikani as a game to beat as well, until I got so far into grammar that all my other Japanese skills got so far ahead of Kanji, that I now look forward so much more to my vocabulary lessons. Every Kanji and every vocabulary used to feel the same, now it’s like “oh, that’s the Kanji they use for that word”. I get through the vocabulary lessons much faster, I’m much more motivated to do them and am having much more fun doing them.

I’m not sure if that’s going to help you at all, but that’s the experience I’ve been having.

Well if you could enable it manually, that kind of takes the “game” aspect away from it, doesn’t it? Because you still know you technically don’t have to do them to level up.

And you’re right, I (and I’m probably not an exception), wouldn’t be too happy with a change like that. It would make leveling up take even longer, and there’s still the issue that Wanikani uses the same SRS system for Kanji, which are much harder to memorize, and vocabulary. I already know most of the vocabulary they teach, and having to review each of those words 10 times can be irritating. It’s good to know that at any point in future, I have the freedom to decide to only learn radicals and kanji and just look at the vocabulary list instead should I ever get sick of the unnecessary workload. If they changed that, that freedom would be taken.


I think the vocabulary for a kanji shouldn’t be unlocked as the kanji hits Guru - they should be learned in tandem, each reinforcing the other (radicals would unlock both kanji and vocabulary).

Of course, it would be even more efficient if there were… sentences in the SRS, which is one of the reasons I don’t find myself using WK much anymore. By not learning kanji in the context of sentences, you are robbing yourself of the ability to quickly learn other kanji through contextual clues (not to mention grammar), which I’m finding to be happening much more frequently now that it’s my primary method of acquiring kanji.

If WK added sentences, it would probably be one of the better SRS TBH.

If you are planning to go all the way with WK, then you should stop caring about the level system at all and just focus on mastering each item per level, and making sure that heavy swinging tail that is leftover vocab is dealt with before gaining the next level.


Similar to to @JustHiro, I actually really enjoy the Vocab lessons because they both help cement the kanji and also I love learning new words, or realizing I now know the kanji to read words I already knew by sound or in hiragana but just didn’t know the Kanji for.

That said, since I’m REALLY bad at remembering new kanji, but actually pretty good with vocabulary (yes, looking at you 失, which I still mix up with 夫 and 矢 but had no trouble burning all the vocab for), I also use the WaniKani Lesson Filter userscript to start learning some vocab unlocked ahead of the next kanji.

I tend to do lessons in groups of: 2 new kanji, 3 new vocab, or if I’m failing recently learned kanji a lot just 5 new vocab.

Spreading them out both helps me to remember the kanji better if I learn them along with the vocab and also helps cut down on the number of vocab I have at the end of the level.

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It’s definitely easy to get caught in the trap that is WaniKani’s lessons number and levels, but I think you gotta just take the lessons a day at a time. I left WK a couple years ago and opted for Anki and from my experience with Anki I learned to just do a set number of new lessons (regardless of content) and as long as I do that, I am happy. Sometimes i have that beautiful 0/0 screen, but its not important to me.


they have both word use phrases, as well as example sentences for every vocabulary word. I always go through them, at least skimming if not full reading them for the tougher words/kanji.

If you are wanting it in the SRS, Just make it a rule to always click the item info button and read a sentence, every time you answer a question.

I’m saying the sentence would need to be in the question.


like have a sentence be the prompt with the asked word highlighted?

That would be interesting, though IMO i feel like it would be visually confusing, as well as slow down the reviews by alot. but as a toggleable mode that might work.


Bam! Great idea.

In a way, yes, but in another way, there are less tangible benefits that will improve study time in the long run.

The Anki deck I’m working through basically does exactly that, and I think it works pretty well

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I think these are some pretty solid points :slight_smile: . Yes, it would be very useful if words + kanji came at the same time. I always found it way harder to just learn kanji in isolation and probably not as productive, because 1) readings depend on word and sentence context and 2) assigning one word meanings to kanji in a broader scheme of things is not exactly useful.

The context sentences are there, but maybe they’re not as noticeable when reviewing items?


I kind of think the “lessons” in WK are awkward. Just remove them and put the cliffnotes on the question cards themselves along with the example sentence, and then have an expandable explanation below the question.

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I think it would be great if WaniKani actually let us use the vocabulary words we learn. I think if we want to truly commit our learning material to memory, we need to actually use it. Instead of meaning/reading reviews, we have a separate set of sentence reviews solely for filling blanks with the vocabulary word. There are many words that share the same primary meaning, and that’s an opportunity for us to apply words like 仕草, 活動, 作用, and 行動, all of which have the primary meaning of “Action”.


While a neat idea, this goes way beyond the scope of this app. WK isn’t a language learning tool. It’s strictly a “learn to read kanji”-tool. You don’t even learn to write kanji, much less grammar and language use.

There are other ways to cram those aspect of the Japanese language in the end.


Yeah. And that sucks. But hey, I’ll just ask our friends at BunPro for writing prompts before I reach level 10 lol

Writing Kanji, I got that covered with an Android app; thanks Ringotan!

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I feel exactly the same. Learning vocab is really useful for me and I’d like it to count as part of completing the level. I was feeling dispirited by having a mountain of vocab left at the end of each level so I’m trying to think of it differently by seeing it as part of the next level. Finishing level 6 vocab is part of completing level 7, finishing level 7 vocab is part of completing level 8. That way I can still have the feeling of achievement from levelling up. The point at which I level up is just offset from where I’d ideally prefer it to be.


idk if you are a gamer but it feels like in gaming: Kanjis are the main quest and vocab are the side quests. The main quest makes you progress in the game but sometimes you take time off from it to do the side quests. It helps my game-addicted brain to see the vocab lessons like that :durtle_megane: “ok today I’m working on my missing side quests! 100% completion here we go!” like visiting a town you already have been to in an rpg just to do optional stuff there lol

also sometimes side quests are better than the main story… ok I’ll stop being a nerd now


Ironically, in real life, it’s the other way around.

I also think there’s a fundamental design flaw how the leveling up works. You get no satisfaction leveling, because you have mountains of vocab to still do. It feels like it’s in the wrong spot. Requiring all vocab could slow down potentially the leveling process, so I like @Chocobits idea of learning them in parallel.

I personally don’t like using sentences in SRS, because it’s much slower, and work out the nuance later with input. That’s pretty divisive in Anki users, though, so it depends on the person how they approach their learning.


Highly recommend using lesson reorder script and doing lessons at an efficient ratio. I do a 3 kanji / 9 vocab ratio (12 lessons total per day) and while you won’t finish all the vocab before you level up because you unlock new ones when you guru the kanji for the level up, you will finish most vocab before leveling up.

The reason I chose that ratio is there are ~2000 kanji and ~6000 words on this site, so roughly a 1:3 ratio.

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